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Effective Networking



EffectiveNetworking


Contents :-



Introduction


Networking can be very helpful to your career. The idea is to develop a network of friendly people who share information to help each other. It is best known as a strategy for opening the hidden job market, for getting a good job. Since many jobs (some would say most) are not advertised, it is essential that you develop friendly relationships with people who can tip you off to job openings -- perhaps even introduce you to the person who is doing the hiring. There is some truth in, "It's not what you know, but who you know".

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Networking has other benefits. You are creating a community of people who support each other, who provide emotional support and information that will help each other. You will learn of new developments in your field: new tools, processes, leaders, training programs, products and services. You may discover the solution to a problem you face at work. And, you may have the satisfaction of providing the key piece of information that makes a real difference in the life of one of those in your network.

Networking is a planned, and ongoing effort. You set goals, develop strategies for achieving them, take action, evaluate how well your plan is working, and make changes as necessary. It is something that you do throughout your career.

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To build an effective network, you need both formal and informal networks in place. Formal networks are the type you actually join, usually with dues and regular meetings. These could include a professional association, a group like the Lion's Club, or an association of school graduates. Informal networks may include friends you run into at an annual holiday party, friends you keep up with from a former job, people from your church, mosque, or synagogue, or the people you met while white-water rafting. A good network contains both types and has a healthy mix of both business and social conditions.
Evaluate each choice in terms of its consequences.
Use your standards and judgement criteria to determine the cons and pros of each alternative.

Determine the best alternative.
This is much easier after you go through the above preparation steps.

Put the decision into action.
Transform your decision into specific plan of action steps. Execute your plan.

Evaluate the outcome of your decision and action steps.
What lessons can be learnt? This is an important step for further development of your decision making skills and judgment.

Final remark. In everyday life we often have to make decisions fast, without enough time to systematically go through the above action and thinking steps. In such situations the most effective decision making strategy is to keep an eye on your goals and then let your intuition suggest you the right choice.


Plan Network


Begin by writing out your goals for your network. What do you hope to achieve? Information about job openings? Get ideas about how you might improve yourself? Advance your career? Learn about new developments in the field? Training opportunities? Emotional support?

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Write down how you might help the people in your network. Networking is about sharing. Even if you are just starting your career, you will have something to share. It may be as simple as your friendship and sending a card. You may come across an article you can copy and share. As your network grows and you know the people in it better, you will see ways that people in it might link together, help each other.


Make Contact


Write down the kinds of people you want in your network: such as, their background, position, personality, leisure interests, and values. Remember, you want people who will help you reach your goals, the goals you wrote down earlier.

Make a list of the people you already know who you want to include in your network . . . and then a list of other possibilities. Consider how you will contact people you would like to include in your network, such as, in person, by phone, email, chat rooms, online discussion groups, or usenet news groups.

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Meeting face-to-face with a worker in an occupation that interests you. This powerful technique is primarily used for learning about occupations and searching for jobs. It is also an excellent way to build your network.

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Keep your network to a manageable size. Start off small and work up to a size that works for you.


Oganize Your Network


Paired Comparison Analysis helps you to work out the importance of a number of options relative to each other. It is particularly useful where you do not have objective data to base this on.

All your contacts won't do you any good unless you organize them. Think about how all this information will be most helpful to you. There are many computer programs that can be used for this purpose. Or, a simple way to do this is to use a multiple-rolodex system. The one on top of your desk is for current, frequently used contacts. A second business-card file is for people you want access to, but know you won't be speaking with more often than once or twice a year. An optional third file can be for the "old-timers", people you haven't contacted in a year or more.

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You can also organize your network on color-coded or alphabetized index cards, categorizing your contacts and keeping track of the calls you make to each. Give your network a checkout at least once a year. Weed out and reorganize your card files, rolodexes, and address books. Keep your list of current and active contacts close at hand. Don't discard old contacts; you can always reconnect with them.


Take Action


Set a timetable to achieve your goals; perhaps you can aim for one cold call, one lunch, and two reconnecting calls a week. Create a file or "networking" notebook to record who you've called and what the outcome or response was. Stick to your schedule and, to stay on track, read over your responses from time to time. You'll be surprised and encouraged by how many contacts you are making

It helps to set aside a special networking time, such as 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursdays, if your work schedule allows. Quiet Sunday evenings at home can be good times for networking, often the only way to make long-distant contacts. If you put yourself on a mental schedule, you're more likely to really make contacts. When attending meetings, set goals to meet a certain number of new people or leave with a certain number of business cards. Then do it!

Networking is a challenge. The biggest part of it is psychological -- getting and keeping motivated . . . and overcoming any fears you may have. Keep in mind that "It can't hurt to ask" . . . that most people enjoy being asked for help and are flattered to be asked for advice. They also know that in this uncertain job world, they need to network.. Approach new people at meetings and start a conversation, even if you're not in the mood. Taking the initiative really pays off. Whether you're a novice or an expert, you get only as much out of networking as you put into it..


Practice Networking Etiquette


The last, but possibly the most important tool for good networking is to make sure you observe networking etiquette. Here are a few essentials to remember: .

• Always respect your contact's names. Get an OK before you use a person's name as a referral to get to someone else.

• Make sure you call people at times that are convenient for them. If you're on the East Coast, don't forget about the three-hour time difference and call someone on the West Coast at 6 a.m. Don't wake someone at midnight just to "touch base."

• Follow through on your promises. If someone asks for a copy of an article you've mentioned, jot that request on the back of her or his business card and send the article within the week. If you offer to give someone a phone number, make sure you send it. Even if you haven't made specific commitments to your contacts, communicate with them to stay visible. Send them cards at holiday time, ask them to lunch "for no reason at all," clip articles you know they would appreciate and send them with your card. Think of creative ways to keep in touch.

• Thank everyone who helps you or provides you with leads. At any given meeting, you're bound to come away with at least three ideas or tips. Thank the people who offered them with a one-minute phone call or brief handwritten note. It's wise to thank people for leads and ideas even if their suggestions don't pan out; your contacts will appreciate the follow-up.



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